The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, founded at the University of St Andrews, and Dont Walk have a similar goal in mind, to create a dialogue between people in order to inspire change.
For Dont Walk, this involves organising a fashion show. The show seeks to inspire discussion amongst our peers, as Creative Director Alina Abouelenin emphasises: “Realizing the power and relevance that both fashion and art have in the discourse of political affairs and daily events, we have chosen to use these as the means of communication.” Dont Walk is an event, a show designed around interaction between art and audience, ultimately providing a night of enjoyment but crucially aiming to instigate thought surrounding the charities they support.
This year, Dont Walk has made an unprecedented move in supporting two charities, both of which are also in partnership with the University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. This means that Dont Walk has had the opportunity to not only work with the rewarding charities; the CWWPP (The Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace) and ANICHRA (African Network Against Illiteracy Conflicts and Human Rights Abuses), but also to utilise the expertise of the University.
The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, directed by Dr. Hazel Cameron, is an academic body seeking to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in a collegial environment, analysing and investigating processes of conflict resolution in the construction of long term peace. Using the experiences of people, places and history, the CPCS is developing academic knowledge of peace and conflict, whilst aiding dialogue between individual groups and communities who are concerned with the conditions of positive peace. With research spanning across several continents, including Central and Eastern Europe, Sub Saharan Africa, Central Asia, China and Latin America, the CPCS analyses the “complex issues facing the global milieu of peace and conflict using a variety of conflict resolution, social justice and peace studies tools, processes and methods”.
Through research expertise in areas such as ‘psychological dimensions of peace and conflict’ and ‘reconciliation and reconstruction,’ the partnership of the CPCS, along with ANICHRA and the CWWPP signifies a crucial link between academic research and the active work done by charities such as these to better post and pre-conflict societies.
Founded in 1995, Dr Charles Tauber has led the work of the CWWPP, focusing on tackling post-conflict issues, aiming to heal physical and mental health issues caused by conflict in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. After focusing on aspects of health affected by conflict, both physical and mental, the charity seeks to find long term solutions to the problems of the rehabilitation of post-conflict communities and the prevention of future conflict. The CWWPP seeks to ensure through its work that non-violent conflict resolution can be secured through community development, communication, skills of organisation and knowledge of governance.
ANICHRA, founded and directed by Dr. Willibroad Dze-Ngwa, is a similar charity based in Yaounde, Cameroon. Unlike CWWPP, ANICHRA specifically targets illiteracy in schools by paying for the education, providing school supplies and providing scholarship opportunities for the less privileged. Through the promotion of education, peace-building mechanisms and human rights education, ANICHRA’s goal is to reduce illiteracy, conflicts and human rights violations in Cameroon. The building of a peaceful infrastructure in Africa through these various methods means that ANICHRA and other organisations like it, are striving to create an environment where African people can improve their capacities to reduce poverty and better the infrastructure of their communities.
The work of these charities highlight why Dont Walk is proud to contribute and be a part of the efforts being made to promote conflict resolution and prevention in countries such as Cameroon and Croatia.
The author is a model in this year’s Dont Walk fashion show taking place on the 1st of March.